Thank god: cocaine, weed, and MDMA consumption in NSW bounce back post lockdown

The drug industry can breathe a sigh of relief after coronavirus failed to shut it down – with consumption bouncing back post-lockdown.

There was some worry for cocaine dealers during lockdown, with use of the party drug at its lowest in NSW in over a year; however, thankfully consumption has bounced back.

A monitoring report from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission analysed wastewater of 55 treatment plants in capital cities and regional areas across Australia – estimated to cover about 56 per cent of the population – to see exactly which illicits people were swallowing, snorting, smoking, or even boofing.

Cocaine, Drugs, NSW
Photo: Science Mag

Sydney took out the top prize as Australia’s cocaine capital city, with an average consumption of 1.35 grams per 1,000 people a day. In April, this fell to below 1 gram per 1,000 people per day (down from 2 grams in December) – a temporary cause for concern.

Cocaine, NSW
Australian Intelligence Criminal Commission

Cocaine wasn’t the only drug to make a jump following lockdown in NSW, with the use of cannabis and MDMA also becoming a popular pastime once restrictions had eased up.

The ACIC also found that prices for a variety of drugs rose during lockdown, obviously, because those dealers were doing it tough. A gram of cocaine reached $450, ice rose to $250, and a gram of MDMA was $170.

However, according to the report, this didn’t necessarily deter drug-users, with consumption of some heavier drugs increasing.

In fact, methylamphetamine, or ice for the cool-kids, was the most used drug in the country during the month of April, with 2 grams used for every 1,000 people per day in regional areas, and 1.4 grams in capital cities.

Heroin actually managed to thrive in NSW despite coronavirus taking aim at the drug industry, with over 1.3 grams per 1,000 people used per day, dropping to below 0.7 grams in June.

CEO of the ACIC, Michael Phelan said, “Operational activity in which the ACIC has been involved with its partners indicates that many serious and organised crime groups in the major drug markets continued to operate on a ‘business as usual’ basis throughout the pandemic, importing, manufacturing and trafficking illicit drugs.”

With social gatherings all but cancelled during lockdown, alcohol also took a hit to consumption, although this would surprise you if you were anywhere near social media, with every man and his dog seemingly creating their very own at-home cocktails to fill the margarita-sized hole in their hearts.